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CYPRUS WAKE UP ! - By Simon Davidian
It’s been nearly seven long years since the Cypriot accession into the European Union and within the broad political mainstream, many do begin to ponder the question as to ‘Why did they even bother?’
The political class of the European Union has often been described as the entity that encompasses prosperity within economic and social means – envisioning great member-state benefits such as free trade within the ‘Euro Zone’ and the added factor of free people movement. What’s not to love?
But of course, what seems to be an integral benefit on the outside has lead to the biggest democratic con since the formation of the USSR. Because not only did Cyprus join a deeply flawed Union, but on the 1st of May 2004, Cyprus gave away more than 50% of its legislative power to the unelected, unaccountable professional politicians in Brussels and Strasbourg – and did the people of Cyprus receive a referendum? No. What is the role of our elected individuals if they can’t even control national agendas themselves?
Because within the depths of this political class, those on the outside start to outline the key ‘cracks’ within the system. Specific cracks that were never disclosed to the Cypriot electorate during the accession in 2004 – and within recent years, those cracks have developed to be huge gaping holes. Don’t be fooled, just because it seems prestigious, doesn’t mean it is!
In 2009, the European Union bullied all 27-member states into signing up to the ever-illusive Lisbon Treaty. Instated under a diabolical manner, the Lisbon Treaty forcefully evolved huge amounts of ‘home’ power into the centralised institutions located in Brussels and Strasbourg – and if you do not think it was ‘forceful’, just look at the example of the Irish Referendum. They voted ‘No’ on a given Treaty referendum yet were made to vote again until the result proclaimed ‘Yes’ – another nail into the coffin of Democracy.
The Lisbon Treaty abolished the right for member states to say ‘No’ within 61 policy areas such as Health, energy and foreign policy. It also ushered in a new President of the Union, Mr. Herman Van Rompuy - whom hasn’t even been elected by the people of Europe. You probably didn’t even know his name but he is paid more than President Obama himself.
Just who do these unelected, unaccountable professional politicians think they are? The then-newly proclaimed Cypriot independence of 1960 seems to be light-years away.
And to think, the Cypriot people weren’t even given a decent referendum. A chance to voice opinion – because after all, you’re paying them! It’s your taxes that are funding the tighter grip that these undemocratic bureaucrats have over you.
The Cypriots weren’t given a referendum to join the Union and likewise they weren’t given a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. How disgraceful.
Giorgos Perdikis (General Secretary of the Ecologists and Environmentalists Movement) within a 2008 debate in the Cypriot House declared the Treaty “A Crime Against Democracy” – and how he was right. Because whenever an institution stops listening to its people, it turns into a tyrannical body. Yet if the European Union does so, it’s curiously brushed under the carpet – with complements to the media.
It seems since 1974, the enemy has evolved from the Turks into the European Union.
Always question your authority. Cyprus, wake up!
 
 
Following an article published in the Gibrahayer e-magazine issue of 02 April 2011 by Simon Davidian titled “CYPRUS WAKE UP!”, I was urged to write down my thoughts and worries that had since long concerned me. The article, written in the simple words of a young man, who in my opinion is the victim of a wave of anti-EU and xenophobic sentiment that is gripping Europe at large due to economic instability and rising unemployment, made me realize how close the danger is to home. The final words of Simon: “It seems since 1974, the enemy has evolved from the Turks into the European Union. Always question your authority. Cyprus wake up!” scare me to the marrow of my bones for I know not what is worse, to have the EU compared to a murderous foreign invader, or to not realize the incomparable crime perpetrated by Turkey in regards to Cyprus. 
Dear Simon Davidian, good morning, please do wake up or else you will soon be woken up… and you will not like what happens then!
Diran Kassabian

A Good Morning by Diran Kassabian

1st of May, 2004. I remember that morning quite vividly. It was unexpectedly sunny for mid spring in the rural town in Germany where I was living and studying for my first degree. It was a good day and not even the strong breeze could bend my resolve to make the 15 minute walk down the road from the student house I was staying to the small train station they had built near the other end of the university compound. I remember those first steps on the stone cobbled road, with the short grass being whipped about by the wind. It was a quite morning and I was alone on the road, but that is not surprising as the Friday evening of the day before was dedicated from students to beer drinking and all else that follows.
It was just another lazy Saturday morning for most, but for me it was a special morning for that morning I was no longer an “Auslander” (the German word for foreigner) but instead a European. Well, perhaps that is not entirely true as I always had felt as a European and the Germans where very friendly with us, but now that title actually had a definitive meaning for me, as on the 1st of May 2004 Cyprus together with nine other European countries had joined the European Union. I was in Germany, I was home.
Seven years later, one more EU enlargement and the greatest financial crisis that the world has seen since the Second World War and Cyprus is a fully participating member of the EU and the Eurozone and is on the brink of taking the EU presidency in the second half of 2012. Throughout its history the EU has faced many challenges and one way or another managed to overcome them and continue to evolve to better be a Europe for Europeans. The effort has been earnest, sometimes misguided, and sometimes erroneous yet with the intention of forging a union that encompasses the spirit of being a European.
Perhaps the most obvious flaw of the EU is that it is not so obvious. This lack of simplicity baffles the very people that the EU is made of. With so many institutions, agencies, bodies and committees the EU looks like the afterbirth of a beaurocratic nightmare. The irony is that the people who criticize the EU for lack of transparency and approachability are the same people that vehemently struggle against cohesion and further integration within the EU.
A prime example of this paradoxical situation was the prominent rejection of the European Constitution. Few realize that, as it stands, the EU is nothing else but an amalgamation and conglomeration of various multinational treaties and agreements between various, and often not all, member states of the EU with their exemptions, deviations, opt-outs and annexes. It is thus no wonder that under basic scrutiny the EU looks nothing less than a cobweb of patched up parts sewn into a cumbersome whole. The European Constitution was formulated after much deliberation and negotiation to remedy this situation by integrating all treaties into a single document, superseding them and providing cohesion and unified purpose to the fragmented framework that operated until that time. It was geared to extend the powers of the European Parliament and thus enhance democratic participation of the peoples of Europe, to consolidate the executive arm of the EU so as to give it a more meaningful access to resources that would assist it in carrying out European policy, to define the symbols of the EU that other nations and peoples outside of the EU had embraced as emblems of democracy, freedom and modernization so as to give a recognizable face to the Europe of nations. But as is now common knowledge, Europhobia won and the Constitution was stillborn. The cobweb remained. The Europhobes continued with their ritualistic mantra of blaming the EU for opacity and complexity.
It was a disappointed for those who believed in Europe but the EU listened to its citizens and decided instead of scratching all that effort as the ‘doom of democracy’ as Europhobes would have it, to make the painful adjustments and the watering down that the people demanded. After all, despite what some may think, Europeans are democratic and the people decide, even when it is sometimes short sighted or against their better interests. The people will it and the people had it, in the form of the Lisbon Treaty.
Yet again the Europhobes cried of being force fed something they did not want and that it was all a ‘trick of the technocrats’ to resurrect the rejected Constitution under another name. Their point was that people had said “Non” so why discuss it at all? As with any phobia, a person suffering from one usually forsakes reasonable thinking in favor of gut feeling. A reasonable person would see that the result of a referendum is sweeping. In a referendum people are not asked to comment or to express their opinion regarding the subject of the referendum. They are asked to make a decisive choice. Yes or No. 1 or 0. A binary choice that achieves its goal when the result is Yes, but fails to describe the causes when it is a No. A No can only mean that the actors that formulated the subject of the referendum either failed in formulating the will of the people or that their formulation failed to be understood by the people. It means that further consultation and study is required. Europhobes would have everyone give up when they don’t succeed on the first go and give no room for improvement or change. Life is not so absolute or strict. Fail once on your university exam and you can take a re-sit. Just study harder this time and listen to the lecture in class.
Another major verse in the chant of Europhobes is that member states have seemingly given up their sovereignty to a centralized European body. The hard earned independence through centuries of armed struggle against one another surrendered with a signature on a piece of paper. How a significant part of law making is being decided in places outside the borders of the member state. Once again though, they fail to realize that Europeans are more alike than different in their values, ethics and laws. The EU provides a harmonization framework to make Europe a home for all Europeans. Familiarity is a powerful aspect of human comfort and by having the laws and rules of each member state harmonized with one another the EU becomes mutually understood by the multitude of people living within its borders. When what one takes for granted in one place is equally true in another, one feels more at home even away from home and less of a stranger and this is conductive for business, culture and mutual understanding among the peoples of Europe.
Europhobes tend to forget that most of these harmonization directives are agreed by all member states and would have been implemented individually with relatively minor differences even without the EU’s council and that the final say to making a directive into a law of the country rests solely and entirely in the elected parliament of the member state. The EU does not and cannot force state parliaments to vote in a law they do not themselves wish. The reason why most EU directives are voted into law without much difficulty is that they truly reflect the will of the people, being formulated after thorough consultation, study and dialogue. It is paradoxical how Europhobes reconcile the legal independence and representativeness of members of parliament with the notion that they are being constantly bullied in lawmaking activities against their will and thus the will of the people. Paranoia in some cases has no limits whatsoever and Europhobes cultivate it in many aspects of their speeches and proclamations.
That brings me to the clandestine ‘Army of Unelected Technocrats and Euro-Beaurocrats’ that Europhobes claim to run the EU behind closed doors and are an anathema to their concept of democracy. The EU is arguably one of the largest and most complex organizations in the world dealing with more areas of expertise than any other institution, including the United Nations with all its bodies. In addition to its size and complexity it is a relatively novel entity by having supranational powers yet at the same time being a union of individual states. Added to that the fact that the EU champions the policy encapsulated under its motto of ‘United in Diversity’ by trying to be a truly representative body for all kinds of people, it is no wonder that it requires a large workforce of sophisticated and educated people to maintain its operations.
Most of these ‘technocrats’ are highly qualified experts in their fields of study with wide national and international experience and knowledge of several European languages. All one needs to do is inspect the requirements laid out in job opportunities at the EU and one quickly realizes that these people should be nothing less than the cream of the European crop. Europhobes would have us all believe that these are analogous to little feudal despots deciding rules locked up behind the walls of their castles whereas the simple truth is that they are contracted employees assigned to do a job for the benefit of us all. They are nothing but civil servants for all Europeans and well paid ones at that. And why they are paid well is because there are few that can do what they do.
“The EU and the fall of democracy”: a typical headline for any sensational Europhobe publication. If only one stops for a moment and thinks clearly before jumping the bandwagon of Europhobe protest one realizes that the EU is as democratic as things get. I am amazed at how Europhobes brand the EU as being led by unelected individuals when their own country is filled to the brim with such people, yet they are ok with the latter but not with the former.
Everyone knows, yet few understand, that democratic states in the 21st century are unlike any democracy conjured by the minds of theoretical and ideological purists and operate on a very specifically defined form of a representative system. One needs to consider that it is rare that even the head of government is elected by direct suffrage and that many ‘democracies’ are parliamentary with the head of government being indirectly elected by the representatives. Even with direct voting, only the head of government is elected by the people in a vote for several years and then given more or less a carte blache to form policy without any significant executive feedback from the people. Also that all ministers and other top executives are appointed by the head of the government and little to no ‘democratic’ process is involved. As for the lower level officials, these are civil servants that are hired on a contractual basis, much like the dreaded ‘unelected technocrats’ of the EU. At least in the EU they may truly be technocrats and hired for their technical merits, unlike in many state run organizations and bodies where local party politics interfere with the selection of government employees. These double standards are used by Europhobes to demonize EU officials as doombringers of undemocratic dogmas.
Some Europhobes go as far as to dare compare the EU to the bygone USSR claiming that a united Europe is destined to fail under the same premises as the Soviet Union. A convenient fabrication which brushes the elephant, rhino and hippo all under the carpet for the sake of Europhobe propaganda, the analogue is further used to instill fear in people and lead them to paranoia.
If anything, the EU is as radically different from the USSR as can be. Unlike the monolithic single party system, the EU and its parliament houses multiple far ranging ideas that are often in conflict with each other and not only promotes but champions freedom of speech and thought and tolerance of diversity. Indeed it is ironic how the strongest anti-European denouncers are themselves members of the European Parliament and some of them espouse ideas and notions that make some third world country authoritarian dictators seem in contrast like enlightened modernists. And unlike the severely restrictive centrally planned economy enforced by the USSR, the EU operates on the principles of free trade, modern economic theory and the unhindered mobility of goods, services, people and ideas, clamping down on emerging monopolies and unhealthy economic practices both from within and outside its borders and striving to ensure that the rights of consumers and producers are protected alike.
And last, but in no way least, is the argument that the EU is not representative of its people. William E. Simon was quoted saying that ‘bad politicians are elected by good people who don’t vote.’ This quote cannot be repeated enough in regards to the EU. Europhobes highlight all the vices of the EU, yet when elections for the European Parliament are called turnout is disastrously low. On one hand people bemoan that the EU is unelected, yet they do not even bother to come to elections. This hypocrisy is the worst paradox to the Europhobe portfolio of enflamed rhetoric. It is a very worrying trend that is becoming worse and worse with each year, with the younger generation losing all interest in taking part and involvement in the EU and becoming complacent. Perhaps the EU is to blame at part, but the significant portion lies with the uncaring youth found drinking frappe at the local cafes instead of being involved in the European society that they are part of, until driven by unrelated social and economic problems which they experience they start sounding like the paranoid Europhobes.
It was a good morning on that sunny day. I was walking alone to the train station as a European to go to a few stations down the track to have a Subway sandwich and an orange juice. Yet others were still fast asleep. Perhaps I should have woken them up.
Perhaps I will.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
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